Christmas in Action improves homes in LandrumPublished 11:14pm Monday, December 9, 2013
One lady called Christmas in Action in tears.
She lived on Social Security, had no additional money and no other place to go, but the leak underneath her mobile home wouldn’t stop.
Volunteers sprang into action, and before long, they fixed that problem.
“On our follow-up evaluation visit, she had her blinds open, pictures up and her home was spick-and-span clean,” said Joan Moore, executive director of Christmas in Action. “Those tears had been replaced by a twinkle in her eye. We had given her new floors in her dining room and living room, but we had done something more. We had given her new hope.”
A new grant from Women Giving for Spartanburg allowed Christmas in Action to extend services to Landrum and Campobello this year, and volunteers improved 10 houses in the area throughout last week.
“We are really relieving stress for the homeowners,” Moore said. “When you have to worry about the roof leaking or falling through the floor, this stress can add difficulty to health issues. We alleviate stress by creating a home environment of independence and safety, and when you relieve that stress, you lift a huge burden. Reaching our goals helps other people reach their own goals.”
Christmas in Action has been rehabilitating homes for 17 years, and Moore has been executive director there for four years.
The organization has rehabilitated 715 houses and mobile homes on the Rebuilding Days. This year, 75 houses have received rehabilitation from Christmas in Action. Volunteers also work on other projects year-round.
“I know we are making a difference for home owners right here in our own community,” Moore said. “We help senior citizens, people with disabilities and people who have financial disadvantages.”
The organization accepts referrals from various health care providers and social service agencies, and the group also welcomes direct applications.
“We do not do rental properties,” Moore said. “The applicant must be a homeowner and live in the house in order to receive our assistance.”
The need for the home rehabilitation has exceeded expectations, Moore said, and Christmas in Action has 450 applications from people waiting for repairs.
“There’s a huge need, but we are blessed with an abundance of active volunteers,” Moore said. “Churches and college groups work with us, and it is wonderful to get the younger generation involved in helping, as well.”
Sometimes groups of volunteers will tackle specific projects, such as building ramps at various homes in the area or rehabilitating a house from basement to roof.
“In my mind, we have two sets of customers: the homeowners and the volunteers,” Moore said. “Our volunteers always say they get more out of it than the homeowners themselves, because it makes us all stronger to help people in need, making a difference.”
Ingrid Bellue, program coordinator, accepts calls for people interested in volunteering at 864-576-7101. The same phone number works for applying for home rehabilitation.
Christmas in Action receives funding from United Way and community development block grants, as well as donations.
“We are fortunate to have a very hands-on board of directors,” Moore said. “It means so much to do this work. We do all kinds of home improvements and we build ramps.
“If someone is bedridden when an emergency rescue squad enters a home, a ramp can prevent painful jostling. People in wheelchairs need ramps, and it can mean that they will be able to get out of their houses fast in case of fire. No one likes a leaky roof or mold, and when we improve people’s homes, we improve their lives.”